Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Bad Memories

Yesterday prosecutors received a letter from John Allen Muhammad, one of the DC snipers. The letter was a request for help stopping the legal appeals from death row. Muhammad's defense lawyers have continued to fight on his behalf, claiming evidence of brain damage.

This report brings back the terror we lived under in 2002. We lived just north of Fredericksburg, where one of the shootings occurred. From southern Maryland to just north of Richmond, Virginia, Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo made 15 attacks before their capture.

What frightened the area so much was the randomness of the attacks and the ordinary activities the victims were involved in at the time. Some were at the grocery store, at the craft store, the home improvement store or, as in the case of the one that occurred next to our house, at the gas station. The most frightening attack was made on the grounds of a middle school.

My son was in second grade and the children were not allowed to go outside at recess. Police officers were positioned outside of schools, with guns at the ready while the children where going to school and when they left school. No one was allowed to enter the school without signing in and showing ID. Several times the schools were on lock down, not allowing anyone to enter or leave the school building-including parents. One of communications from the shooter bragged, "Your children are not safe, anywhere, at any time."

The police were relentless in their pursuit of the sniper. At the beginning of the investigation the profiling had them looking for one individual, probably a white male. Then as reports continued to come the reports stated he was driving a white van. The police working in Virginia and Maryland along with the FBI did a wonderful job of teamwork. At one point a phone call from one of the shooters bragged about previous shootings and his cleverness.

Finally on October 24 police received a tip from a HVAC mechanic returning home who noticed a parked car at a rest stop in Maryland. Both Muhammad and Malvo were asleep in the car along with the weapon that would be linked to the attacks. The car had a small hole drilled out of the back of the car. The men would lay in the trunk and shoot the victims through the hole.

I hope the appeals are stopped and Muhammad receives his punishment. He and Malvo have done enough damage to the victims, their families and the people that suffered due to their actions. We as taxpayers should not have to pay for the lawyers for his appeal or the continued funding for food and shelter while he is in prison. As long as he is alive the chance that he can escape or get a release by means of mental incompetence could mean another reign of terror. He was the one who lead the then 17-year old Malvo into these attacks. Malvo even testified that the plan was to find young boys with no parents or guardians and recruit them, taking them into Canada to train them in the use of firearms. Once the training was complete they planned to send them out and coordinate mass attacks across the United States, sending the country into chaos.


Becky K. said...

My parents were at the gas station in Fredericksburg just before the shooting there. They were visiting my Grandmother who lives in that area. Crazy how close these things can come to us...and our family living in PA.

It is sad, the depth of hate and lack of value for the human life.
So sad...

Becky K.

Kim said...

Becky, I had planned on stopping at the Michaels craft store at the time of the shooting there but was running late and decided to wait for another day.
It is amazing how thankful running late can be such a blessing.
It is so sad that our children must live daily with the ever growing sin in the world.

Richard D said...

Hi Becky - I'm Kim's husband. I was at that gas station that morning too. It was a few hours prior to the shooting, but it was still very scary to consider how close I had been too it.

I was also at the Pentagon just a few hours before it got hit on 9/11. And Kim's father was inside the Pentagon when the plane hit. The nose cone of the plane actually hit the window directly below Kim's father's office window. Fortunately, he was in another area of the building at that time.